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The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference

The Papers

Findings And Lessons Learned from the UNDP Programme for Accountability and Transparency and the OECD Development Centre on Comparative Country Case Studies in Anti-Corruption

Corruption and its Perception

Corruption is much less of a taboo: relative openness to the topic is visible:

  • in civil society response to the problem (media coverage in particular)
  • in the political discourse

Very partial knowledge on corruption phenomenon, its causes and its consequences

  • no systematic attempt to deepen and specialise this knowledge
negative effect on:
  • the launching of reforms (accuracy/urgency of reforms not understood)
  • the perception of corruption in the population

Cynicism in any possible change

  • lack of results of anti-corruption initiatives
  • capitalization of popular expectations not followed by actions
  • use of corruption allegations to get rid of political opponents

High level of acceptation of corruption

  • mechanisms and representations that "legitimize" corruption

Government's Initiatives

Often, anti-corruption remain initiatives: very rare comprehensive anti-corruption strategy

Difficulties of securing a sustained political commitment

  • Corruption's political functions
    • Reward of political supporters
    • Election financial support
  • Difficulties of launching reforms
    • Uncertainty about the results
    • Fear of destabilization by opposition from vested interests
    • Initial cost of reforms

Difficulty of finding the actors: the unequal winners/losers equation:

  • the groups/individuals benefiting from corruption
    • may have a key role in the reform process
      • influence on Government/Parliament: reforms stuck at the design level
      • powerful in the administration/a given agency: reforms stuck at the implementation level
    • are aware of the danger of reforms for their interests and likely to oppose it strongly
  • the groups/individuals suffering from corruption
    • may not perceive the negative effects of corruption on them
    • are less likely to be organized (low-income, illiteracy)

Emphasis on creating/redesigning institutions rather than changing the system

  • little correlation between:
    • the number of anti-corruption institutions
    • the toughness of their names
    • the effectiveness of anti-corruption strategies
  • the efficiency of the institutions depends:
    • on their legal capacity
      • adequate independence
      • adequate mandate
      • adequate powers
    • on their practical capacity
      • importance of the rule-of-thumb
      • adequate funding
    • on adequate coordination with other institutions

Awareness raising on corruption and its negative consequences: the missing link of anti-corruption initiatives

  • Need for public information campaigns

Ongoing reforms with broader or distinct objectives than the fight against corruption per se

  • should contribute to the fight against corruption by changing/eliminating some opportunities for corruption
  • may be perceived as less challenging to vested interests

Non-government Initiatives

Social capacity matters for civil society successive involvement in anti-corruption

Depends on:

  • Level of development (poverty/literacy)
  • Level of inequalities
  • Legal or informal constraints on civil society activities

As well as institutional setting

  • Range of public activities opened to public scrutiny
  • Institutional capacity to hold governments accountable
    • free and fair election
    • channels of redress and complaints

Large scope of underdeveloped but potentially very successful actions to be fostered

  • Institutionalized partnerships between government and civil society
  • Use of private sector's expertise to enrich government's anti-corruption policies.

Representativeness of the NGOs and need for realistic assessment of their capacity

  • NGOs may represent sectional claims
  • NGO may have their own cover agenda
  • NGO may have as sole purpose the capture of a rent

The media

  • Independence is a prerequisite but is not enough if:
    • Economic constraints: advertisement, oligopoly
    • Political pressure: use of libel laws, harassment of journalists
  • Diffusion must be as wide as possible
    • newspapers and electronic media (especially when readership is constrained by widespread illiteracy)
    • in all vernacular languages
  • Improving media coverage of corruption
    • Improve techniques of investigation
    • Establish follow-up mechanisms
      • To push governments to action
      • To avoid an increase of cynicism in the population

Role of the donors

  • Expertise
  • Facilitator of reform
  • Need for coordination of donors

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